(from Ford Press
Release) Ford Mustang Cobra Jet Concept Goes Twin-Turbo for
New Cobra Jet concept adopts turbocharging technology from
production EcoBoost® engines in the quest for ever more performance
Since its 2008 debut, the Ford Mustang Cobra Jet has been the most
successful production-based drag racer
Ford Racing engineers have continuously improved and evolved the
Cobra Jet to keep it at the head of its class
LAS VEGAS, Oct. 30, 2012 – The Ford Racing Mustang Cobra Jet concept
revealed today at the Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA)
show proves there is indeed a replacement for displacement.
In the perpetual quest to stay ahead of the competition, for the
first time ever Ford Racing has equipped its factory-built turn-key
drag racer with a turbocharged engine, adopting the same
award-winning technology found on road-going EcoBoost engines.
When the original
Mustang Cobra Jet drag racers rolled out of the Mustang factory in
1968, they relied on 7.0-liter V8 engines with massive four-barrel
carburetors to propel them down the strip.
“When a new generation of Cobra Jets arrived four decades later,
they immediately began winning with a modern, fuel-injected
5.4-liter V8 topped with a belt-driven supercharger,” recalls Jesse
Kershaw, Ford drag racing competition manager. “Over the past four
years, the Cobra Jet has gone on to become both a fan and competitor
favorite, the most successful late-model vehicle in drag racing.”
“Racing pre-dates Ford Motor Company. Henry Ford himself raced the
999 and won in 1901 to generate interest for the new company,” said
Jamie Allison, director of Ford Racing Technologies. “We haven’t
“We’ve competed in almost every category of auto racing, from
deserts to road courses to ovals and drag strips over the past 111
years, often with cars and trucks based on our production models,
including the Mustang,” Allison added.
In 2011, the Mustang GT’s all-new 5.0-liter V8 found a home in the
Cobra Jet, both with and without a supercharger.
“Despite its smaller displacement, the improved breathing of the
5.0-liter with its twin independent variable camshaft timing and
Boss 302 cylinder heads provided comparable performance while
showcasing the high technology available in street Mustangs today,”
said Rob Deneweth, Cobra Jet powertrain development engineer.
“Ever since we relaunched the Cobra Jet in 2008, we’ve continuously
evolved the engine to be more optimized for drag racing and produce
more power for its NHRA class.”
While superchargers provide instant on-demand power, they can also
sap a lot of power especially at high boost levels. The 2.9-liter
blower used on the 2013 Cobra Jet uses as much as 100hp to drive the
supercharger.. That’s power no longer available for acceleration.
Two turbochargers, no waiting
internal combustion engine has a plentiful source of energy that
normally goes to waste right out the exhaust pipe. Turbochargers
harness the thermal and kinetic energy in the exhaust gases to drive
turbines and compressors that force more air into the engine for a
big increase in power without most of the parasitic losses of a
“Ford has embraced turbocharging technology and a lot of our
production engineers are working with the technology on a daily
basis, so we have a lot of knowledge,” added Deneweth. “So we
decided to apply that knowledge to the Mustang Cobra Jet to showcase
what our engineers and suppliers know how to do.”
Turbocharger design and release engineer Dave Born joined the Cobra
Jet team after working on the 3.5-liter EcoBoost® V6 for the F-150
to help make this concept a reality. “When done right, turbocharging
is just as good as or better than supercharging,” Born confirms.
“To overcome the biggest perceived drawback of turbocharging – the
lag – we’ve selected the smallest possible turbos that will give us
the airflow we need,” he added. “We’ve also got some other
enhancements to help improve the responsiveness; we have very low
inertia and very low internal friction.”
NHRA competition rules for the stock classes Cobra Jet races in
require parts like turbochargers to be derived from production
components. Borg-Warner™ has supplied smaller, more efficient
turbochargers based on the units used in the Focus ST for the Cobra
Jet concept. Smaller than those found in most other drag racing
applications, the turbine wheels are made from titanium aluminide
that reduces the rotational inertia by 50 percent. Along with a
shaft riding on low-friction ball bearings, the compressors can spin
up to 150,000 rpm almost instantly.
The same integrated, electronically controlled wastegates used on
production EcoBoost engines enable the turbos to keep spinning and
generating the boost pressure needed for low elapsed times and high
trap speeds at the strip.
One of the top reasons for a car company to go racing is the rapid
learning curve it provides and the lessons that can be fed back into
the vehicles customers drive every day.
“We’re already using ball bearings in the turbocharger of the
6.7-liter Power Stroke® diesel V8 in Super Duty trucks,” adds Born.
“We’re also evaluating materials like the titanium aluminide for the
turbine, and it could find its way into future production programs
as the costs come down.”
New global Ford Racing livery
The Cobra Jet project
car features its own unique take on the new global Ford Racing
livery that is also highlighted at SEMA. The white body is accented
with an asymmetric black and blue stripe running over the top of the
car from bumper to bumper. The Cobra Jet’s flanks blend an upward
sweeping version of the stripe with the traditional striking cobra
head executed in black with blue accents.
Following the SEMA show, Ford Racing engineers including Deneweth
and Born will continue to develop both the performance and
durability of the twin-turbo Cobra Jet.
“For every Cobra Jet model we release, every powertrain goes through
hundreds of hours of dyno testing and a minimum of 50 runs on the
drag strip before we’ll sign off on the durability and capability of
that engine and car,” adds Kershaw. “Like Ford vehicles for the
street, we want to provide our racing customers with cars that are
best-in-class, affordable and reliable.”